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– Google Street View

Microsoft has bought 1.4 acres of land alongside a large planned campus in Fulton County, Georgia.

The company paid $3 million for a 1.4 acre plot on Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, in the Grove Park area close to Atlanta, according to Fulton County property deeds reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The plot adds on to a 90-acre parcel of land which it bought in February as the location for a campus which had been rumored since it bought land further south in Fulton, in Palmetto in October 2020 and negotiated a generous tax break.

Campus plans

Microsoft bought the small plot, situated within the land it acquired in February, to ensure it has access to the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, and to make sure its plans to revitalize the Bankhead railway station on the road were not stymied. by any other developers.

The campus in Grove Park was announced in February, after previous reports had suggested that Microsoft planned a development in the South of Fulton County, in the city of Palmetto. It also joins a Microsoft office being built in Atlantic Yards in the center of Atlanta: "When we open the doors to our offices in Atlantic Yards this summer, we will be able to seat 2,500 employees across the region, including our sales locations in Alpharetta, Buckhead and Midtown. And this number will grow further as we scope and build out facilities in Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills," said Microsoft president Brad Smith in February.

Microsoft has also announced a new data center region based on a presence in Douglas and Fulton counties in Georgia. "These are all significant investments and put Atlanta on the path toward becoming one of Microsoft’s largest hubs in the United States in the coming decade, after Puget Sound and Silicon Valley," said Smith.

Microsoft's latest investments have almost doubled land prices, according to the Chronicle, which reports prices in 2017 were at $1m to $1.5m an acre. The land boom is happening in a poor district of Atlanta, so the Microsoft plans include some affordable housing and long-term community amenities, such as a grocery store and a bank.

Although Quarry Yards is now the flagship, Microsoft's previous purchases are still going ahead, which look like peppering the Atlanta countryside with data centers. The company has had approval for a 250,000 sq ft data center in Palmetto, and has also bought another 125 acres a few miles away in East Point close to the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

"We understand the impact that an investment of this size has on a city like Atlanta," said Smith. "It has huge potential, but if not done right, the downsides can outweigh this promise. That’s why we’re launching this expansion based on three principles and several concrete steps.

"First, we will take a phased approach so we can listen to and learn from the community before we make decisions about our design for Quarry Yards and Quarry Hills. Second, we will expand our presence with world-class environmental sustainability. We are committed to being a carbon-negative, water-positive, zero waste company by 2030. Third, we will grow our presence and simultaneously create new opportunities for and reinvest in the community."